Despite Increases, NM Still Funding Higher Ed at Pre-Recession Levels

May 1, 2014

CONTACT: Sharon Kayne, Communications Director, NM Voices for Children, 505-244-9505

ALBUQUERQUE—New Mexico has cut higher education expenditures by $4,588 per student since 2008, when adjusted for inflation. Only two states—Louisiana and Hawaii—made deeper cuts. And New Mexico is one of the 48 states still spending less per student on higher education than before the recession.

These are among the findings of a report released today by the Washington, D.C.-based Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP). The report’s authors believe such cuts could jeopardize the nation’s economic future, as fewer adults will have the opportunity to earn college degrees.

As a result of these cuts, tuition at New Mexico’s four-year universities has increased by more than 25 percent since fiscal year 2008 on a per-student, inflation-adjusted basis.

“This is not the direction a state with one of the highest poverty rates should be taking—not if we want New Mexicans to have the opportunity to raise their standards of living for themselves and their families,” said Amber Wallin, MPA, a policy analyst with New Mexico Voices for Children. “These deep cuts have led to the depletion of the state’s lottery scholarship fund, which is in real jeopardy if lawmakers fail to come up with a sustainable fix.”

While a handful of states continue to cut higher education spending, most—including New Mexico—have begun reversing the trend. Between fiscal years 2013 and 2014, New Mexico increased higher education spending by just over 5 percent, on a per-student, inflation-adjusted basis.

“This funding increase is a start, but we still have a long way to go,” said Veronica C. García, Ed.D, executive director of NM Voices. “Ensuring that New Mexicans can earn college degrees not only helps our state’s economy and ability to attract high-wage jobs, it also significantly improves child well-being. Not only do parents with college educations earn better money, but their children are more likely to do better in school than children whose parents did not pursue college.”

The CBPP report is available online at:


New Mexico Voices for Children is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization advocating for policies to improve the health and well-being of New Mexico’s children, families and communities. Our fiscal policy work is funded by grants from the Annie E. Casey Foundation, the McCune Charitable Foundation, the WK Kellogg Foundation, and the Working Poor Families Project.
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